Natasha Raulerson

Back To The Future – On Writer’s Block & Editing

Sometimes finding that next word or that next sentence isn’t so easy. This can happen 10k or 50k words into that work-in-progress. If you’re lucky, it never happens, but for the majority, there is always that moment that catches us. That makes it hard for fingers to brush over the keyboard in fluid movements. Instead, it’s jagged tap-a-taps before hitting the backspace key–and somewhere in between is usually the overwhelming urge to throw said keyboard out the window. Not that the sudden block is the keyboards fault, but let’s face it, keyboards probably get more abuse from writers than anyone else. Mine has so much wear and tear that the letters have worn off the keys, and honestly, I’m surprised I haven’t cracked the damn thing. The keyboard is the medium from which we transport our thoughts to the screen–and sometimes, we’re very, very mean to it when we can’t make the correlation.


So, what can we do to not only keep the words flowing, but to maybe not beat up the poor, innocent, and too-often abused keyboard?

Well there are some tactics. Maybe pushing forward works for you. Writing crap upon crap until finally it gives way to the diamonds in the rough that make the story flow again. Most times those original craptastic words are deleted and rewritten later, but if that’s the method that works, then that’s the method that works.

I tend to be the person who stares and stares and stares and wonders why my fingers aren’t moving. Then I note twenty-minutes have passed and the most I’ve achieved is three words and being mesmerized by the cursor blinking on the page.

Realizing that this method is not helping me get any work done, I’ve opted to try something new.



So what does that mean in writer terms exactly? Well, I was listening to K.M. Weiland’s podcast and she mentioned that about every third of her manuscript she goes back and edits. She also mentioned that some authors get caught in a sort of loophole where they forever edit what they already have and never continue on. I used to be that writer, so going back to edit while writing makes me reluctant. I don’t want to fall in that loophole again.

However, when I can’t push forward, it makes me wonder if something has gone wrong in what I already wrote, or rather, in the past of my manuscript. How have I wound up struggling so hard to write that next line? Well, the only way to figure that out is to go to the past–or what I’ve already written in the world I’m working on. To read over what I already have and see if I need to change something, or, what’s more likely, I may have forgotten a detail that’s meant to push the plot forward. Weaving together a plot is pretty damn hard. So by going back and rereading what’s already there, details that are forgotten in the whirlwind of the rough draft pop back out, and things are remembered, thus I can change the future of my manuscript. Making notes in the sidebar (I have Scrivener) can definitely help the process of not over editing–something that may keep you stuck in the past.

Instead of adding the actual detail that may be needed to enhance a scene, jot a note down so when you’re going through your first round of revisions, you remember what you need to do. Sure, fix a misspelled word, or maybe add a bit of dialogue if it comes to you, but don’t DO all the actual editing–at least if you’re like me and will get caught in that forever-editing-loop instead of finishing the manuscript.

By reading through the past, new ideas pop to mind. New avenues to take, paths to carves, 10_21_15_alison_greatscottcharacters to enhance or create. You may get through one chapter or four before that “GREAT SCOTT!” moment hits and you’re jumping back to the future of your manuscript to work on that scene with renewed vigor–and a safely intact keyboard.

I’ve learned this method keeps my mind in the manuscript, makes the gears spin in regards to the what has happened as well as what needs to happen, and helps me come up with ideas of where to take it based on where I’ve already been–and just like Marty and Doc, sometimes I wind up finding a nugget that with a little tweaking, lets me change the future into something much better than I originally imagined.

At the very least, I’ve got some notes jotted for when I actually start the full editing process.

Give it a shot. If nothing else, your keyboard will thank you.

Natasha Raulerson

New Twitter Chat! #DarkLitChat — Join us on June, 21st at 8pm EST!

What is #DarkLitChat?

#DarkLitChat is a monthly Twitter chat for writers, authors, or readers who appreciate dark fiction. Writers and authors at all stages are welcome, and encouraged to join in. Whether you’re plotting, procrastinating, or published, you’re welcome to join us!

When is #DarkLitChat?

Tuesday, June 21st at 8pm EST, on Twitter. (You can find us for subsequent chats every 3rd Tuesday of the month, at 8pm EST)

Why #DarkLitChat?

Writing dark fiction can be hard — and it can be lonely. Many times it’s difficult to find other writers who appreciate a good blood bath in a world filled with happily ever after. Network with other writers of Dark Fiction while we discuss the ups and downs of writing dark fiction.

Who’s hosting #DarkLitChat?

D.H. Poirier, (@PoirierPages) Young Adult Author of dark historical fantasy, and horror. And Elesha Teskey, (@e_teskey) Urban Fantasy Author, and Publicist for Pen And Kink Publishing.

What is Dark Lit?

Any genre or market covering darker topics. Thrillers, horror, suspense, urban fantasy, mysteries, etc. Dark Lit would include murder, crime, abuse, drugs — things of that nature. Dark Lit is subjective, if you think you write Dark Lit, chances are — you do.

How can I help?

Help us get the word out on your blog, and on twitter.

#DarkLitChat Future Chats

We’re looking for published authors open to doing Q&As for future chats. If you’re interested, tweet at @PoirierPages on Twitter, or DM.

Need a reminder for #DarkLitChat? You can sign up for an email reminder for the chat here.

Natasha Raulerson

Elitism In Training

This semester I was in a Fiction II Workshop, which I found to be very informative and fun. Did I know some of what the teacher tought? Yes, I did. Did I learn new stuff or gather new ideas as the class went a long? You betcha. Now, granted I’m older than most of these kids. They are in their early 20s, I’m in my early 30s, so I get our mentalities are a little different. We see the world through different lenses and more than likely, we learn in various ways.


What’s not cool? There’s some kids in the class who think they are God’s gift to the writing world. They don’t need critiques, they don’t need to edit, and they don’t need to get better. They are perfect as is.

For instance, today is the second to last day before the semester ends. We had to set up a revision plan for our second short story. Much of the conversation between these same students went something like:

“This is fucking bullshit. Why do I need a plan. We workshopped my piece, you told me what was wrong. I’ll fix it. I don’t need a second round of revisions, I’m a writer.”

At which point, I looked up, and raised a brow. I pointed out that in the real publishing world, there are multiple rounds of revisions, and you do need a plan on how to tackle them. Now, the Professor of course, wanted us to make a plan a certain way–which was to pick three things from the book and apply to how we want to revise. Not that difficult. Seriously, they were throwing a FIT.

Sure, there are multiple ways of revising, but they don’t seem to understand that they aren’t perfect writers. They have literally said things like:

“I’m not a fucking beginning writer.”

Sorry to burst your bubble there, sweetheart, but you kinda are. I’ve written several novels, have an agent, I’m on submission, (none of which they know about) and I STILL consider myself a beginning writer. There is so much I don’t know, and the reason I take these writing workshops is to learn upon the things I’m weak at or learn new tidbits and tricks on how to make my writing stronger.

I am absolutely just gobsmacked that these kids think they are so great. We all have things wrong with our pieces, which is why we get feedback. One round of revisions doesn’t make a piece perfect. That’s why we get MORE feedback.

The point is, I can’t believe at such a young age, they think they know everything there is to know about writing and no one can tell them different. They have talent, that’s not in question. The point is they have so much room to improve and just don’t seem to want to.

As an author I’ve seen many forms of elitism, and watching these kids just throw these tantrums, I can’t help but wonder. What happens if they do land a publishing deal? Are they going to become one of those smug, elite, jerks that we read about? The ones that attack people who give them a bad review, or turn around and every chance they get say, “As a published author myself…..” as if that makes them somehow better than everyone else.

Again, this isn’t all the kids in the workshop. Some of them are truly striving to better their craft, but some of them don’t realize that writing is always going to be a learning endeavor. They will never know everything. Yes, you may be a writer, but that doesn’t mean you are superior, that doesn’t mean you write well, and it certainly doesn’t mean you don’t have room for improvement.

I think the writers who are always striving to improve, who can listen to feedback, and realize that no one is a perfect writer, are going to be the ones who become great. The ones who think they’re already good enough, well…I have a feeling they’re going to find themselves stuck in the muck of a deep trench that they created for themselves.

Here’s to hoping they realize it sooner rather than later.


Beyond What Is Given by Rebecca Yarros: Cover Reveal

BWiG_500Rebecca Yarros
New Adult
Entangled: Embrace Publishing
Release Date: September 29, 2015



Lt. Grayson Masters is focused on graduating the Apache helicopter course, and the last thing he needs is his gorgeous new roommate Samantha Fitzgerald distracting him. While her smart mouth and free spirit are irresistibly irritating, he can’t deny their off-the-charts chemistry, no matter how hard he tries.

Having just been expelled from college, Sam has no business digging for Grayson’s secrets while she’s hiding her own, but that doesn’t stop her from trying to tear down his walls. Each barrier she busts through drops one of her own, though, and she’s not prepared for the truth: another woman laid claim to Grayson’s heart long ago.

Falling in love is something neither Grayson nor Sam can afford, and when that line is crossed and secrets are exposed, they’ll learn that sometimes it’s the answered prayers that will put you through hell.





BWIG teaser 2




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Rebecca Yarros Bio

Rebecca Yarros is a hopeless romantic and lover of all things chocolate, coffee, and Paleo. In addition to being a mom, military wife, and blogger, she can never choose between Young Adult and New Adult fiction, so she writes both. She’s a graduate of Troy University, where she studied European history and English, but still holds out hope for an acceptance letter to Hogwarts. Her blog, The Only Girl Among Boys, has been voted the Top Military Mom Blog the last two years, and celebrates the complex issues surrounding the military life she adores.

When she’s not writing, she’s tying on hockey skates for her kids, or sneaking in some guitar time. She is madly in love with her army-aviator husband of eleven years, and they’re currently stationed in Upstate NY with their gaggle of rambunctious kiddos and snoring English Bulldog, but she would always rather be home in Colorado.


Connect with Rebecca





Natasha Raulerson

#NewAgent Team Contemporary

I know now what it’s like to be on the other side of a competition. I did Query Kombat, and that in itself was excruciating. Trying to pick four people out of an amazing array of queries and first 250’s is just insane. I changed my picks so many times. IT’S NOT AN EASY DECISION OKAY!

Also please remember, that just because you weren’t picked, it doesn’t mean your work is terrible. It means we went through days of reading slush, taking wish lists into consideration, and more. So even if you didn’t make it on to a team, make sure you keep striving to achieve your dream. You guys are all awesome!

Okay, I won’t keep you in suspense anymore. Without further ado here are my picks.



Susan Taitel

YA Contemporary


 Lisa Creswell

YA Contemporary


Lee Kelsall

Adult Contemporary


 Samantha Harris

Adult Contemporary Romance



Kelly Devos

YA Contemporary


Jean M Malone

YA Historical

I am so excited to work with all of you guys!! It’s gonna be so much fun. I hope I’m able to help you polish everything and may many a new agent request your stuff!

Make sure you check out these other Team Blogs:

Michelle Hauck

Max Wirestone

Laura Heffernan

Dan Koboldt

Wade White

Natasha Raulerson

Never Be Young Excerpt


Written by nine authors, Never Be Younger is a Young Adult collection of Shakespeare retellings. From Othello to Macbeth, Romeo and Juliet to The Winter’s Tale, each story has been crafted with a new spin.

nbyFrom the halls of a high school to hip night clubs to the depths of space, Never Be Younger gives Shakespeare’s classic plays and sonnets a fresh spin for a new audience. Nine authors pay tribute to the Bard by taking his timeless tales to new heights, entrancing readers all over again. A Shakespeare story by any other name still reads as sweet.

All proceeds from the sales of Never Be Younger go to United Through Reading, a charity dedicated to uniting military families through reading. Check out the bottom of the post for how you can win great prizes to celebrate the release!



Buy now on Amazon and Kobo for only $0.99US


Star Crossed Lovers by S.M. Johnston and E.L. Wicker


The clunk of the airlock bolting into place secures my fate, sending my limbs into an involuntary quiver. There’s no turning back now. If we pull this off, my family will finally be free to earn the honest living they so deserve. Too long, we’ve been forced to trade illegally beneath the shadows in fear of the Capulets wrath.

A hand clamps on my shoulder and I jump. On instinct, I reach for my cutlass and pistol then ball my fingers into fists and force them to stay by my side. Merc’s face greets me with a smirk tugging at the corners of his mouth and a glimmer in his brown eyes.

“Want some courage in a pill?” He holds out a tiny blue hexagon—a Queen Mab booster.

I shake my head, my tongue feeling too thick to form words. The last thing I want is to walk into a ballroom full of people and go berserk.


About the Authors

Rachel Bateman: Editor

rachelRachel Bateman is a writer and editor who spends too much time thinking she can out bake the Cake Boss. (Spoiler: She can’t.) She lives in the middle of Montana, but dreams of the South. Rachel is the owner of Metamorphosis Books, an author services company offering formatting and interior layout for independent authors. When not writing, editing, or reading books, she can be found playing with her husband, young son, and small zoo of pets. You can find Rachel on Twitter, and her website.



S.M. Johnston: Star Crossed Lovers & A Gargoyle’s Prom Nightmare

sharonS.M. Johnston is a writer of weird fiction and soulful contemporaries from sunny Queensland, Australia. Her family includes a husband, two sons and a number of fur babies of the feline and cavy variety. You can find Sharon on Twitter, and her website.


Jessica L Pierce: A Day of Errors

jessicaJessica is a somewhat crazy – yet loving – blond. She lives in Green Bay, WI, hates the cold, and loves her completely awesome camo coat. She is passionate about football, baseball, photography and writing, and won’t go near cooked peas. (Raw peapods are fine.)

She is a student at the University of Wisconsin – Green Bay, and will graduate in December 2015 with a degree in Communication with emphasis in Journalism. She is a sports photographer and her work can be found at: You can also find Jessica on Twitter.



Cortney Pearson: The Undreamed Shores

CORTNEYCortney Pearson is the author of Phobic and Such a Secret Place, a mother, musician, and a lover of pink and sparkles. You can find Cortney on Twitter, and her website.






E.L. Wicker: Star Crossed Lovers & A Gargoyle’s Prom Nightmare

EmE.L. Wicker lives in Hampshire, England with her husband and two children. Fueled by the bossy voices in her head, she writes New Adult fiction with a side of romance. You can find E.L. on Twitter, and her website.





Nicole Zoltack: Any Way the Wind Blows

NICOLENicole Zoltack loves to write in many genres, especially romance, whether fantasy, paranromal, or regency. When she’s not writing about knights, superheroes or zombies, she loves to spend time with her loving husband and three energetic young boys, with another little one on the way. She enjoyes horse riding (pretending they’re unicorns, of course!) and going to the PA Renaissance Faire, dressed in garb. She’ll also read anything she can get her hands on. Her current favorite TV show is The Walking Dead. You can find Nicole on Twitter, and her website.



Olivia Hinebaugh: Mark The Music

oliviaOlivia Hinebaugh spends her free time writing. Obviously. The rest of her time is spent playing and reading with her two young children. She also loves: watching Sia’s music videos, quoting Mean Girls, and folding laundry. She actually really does. You can find Olivia on Twitter, and her website.




Adrianne James: A Witch’s Life

adrianneGrowing up Adrianne James couldn’t get her hands on enough books to satisfy her need for the make believe. If she finished a novel and didn’t have a new one ready and waiting for her, she began to create her own tales of magic and wonder. Now, as an adult, books still make up the majority of her free time, and now her tales get written down to be shared with the world.

During the day, Adrianne uses her camera to capture life’s stories for clients of all ages and at night, after her two children are tucked up in bed; she devotes herself to her written work. Adrianne is living the life she always wanted, surrounded by art and beauty, the written word and a loving family.

As a New Adult Paranormal (and sometimes contemporary) author, Adrianne James writes strong women, powerful magic, and love that lasts a lifetime. You can find Adrianne on Twitter, and her website.


Christina June: The Scarf

christinaChristina June writes young adult contemporary fiction when she’s not writing college recommendation letters during her day job as a school counselor. She loves the little moments in life that help someone discover who they’re meant to become – whether it’s her students or her characters. Christina is a voracious reader, loves to travel, eats too many cupcakes, and hopes to one day be bicoastal – the east coast of the US and the east coast of Scotland. She lives just outside Washington DC with her husband and the world’s most rambunctious four-year-old. You can find Christina on Twitter, and her website.


To celebrate the release we have a wonderful giveaway.

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The Trouble With Blueberries

The Trouble With Blueberries

By Natasha Raulerson

Thanks to Wiki Commons For The Image

For the record, I’m allergic to blueberries. Deathly allergic. Allergic enough that there’s an epi-pen in five different places in the apartment. My apartment – not the apartment of the one night stand I picked up at the bar. We used protection. I didn’t know they had flavored condoms. We were so caught up in the heat of the moment, tossing turning, tangling, licking, and well – you get the idea – that I didn’t pay attention when he grabbed the rubber package. He put it on, he tossed the wrapper. That was enough.

Not thirty seconds in, something was wrong. Burning, aching, my tongue swelling.

For the record, going to anaphylactic shock in the presence of a stranger is never fun. Especially when they’re lucky enough to have been healthy, have healthy people in their life, and have never before dealt with someone transforming into an elephant woman while naked in their bed. Screaming ensued. I could have sworn it was a ten year old girl that magically appeared in the room, and then I realized it was him. His high pitched, wailing screams pierced like tiny gnomes stabbing my ear drums with finely forged daggers.

It’s hard to stay calm when your heart is racing so hard against your breastplate it might crack the sternum. Lack of air makes the edges of the world go dark, and what you can see is fuzzy like an old 80’s cartoon – okay maybe a little better than that. The senses dull. The gnomes retreated, returning from whence they came before the darkness came down upon them.

For the record – instead of staring and freaking the fuck out, call 911. If you don’t know what else to do just get the phone, say the woman you brought home is transforming into a grotesque monster. Tell them the skin around her eyes has swollen up like water balloons filled with so much liquid they’re on the edge of bursting. Tell them her fingers are thick and fat and resemble sausages. The Italian kind, not kielbasa. It wasn’t appetizing despite the comparison.

His shock wore off about the time I was doing less breathing and more wheezing. Air becomes thicker than molasses in winter when trying to breathe through an esophagus the size of a pinhole. My lungs burned, angry that they weren’t getting what they needed. He called 911.


For the record – dying isn’t glamorous. Its darkness and nothingness, then confusion. No one is waiting with a set of directions telling you where to go and what to do. No one’s even there to tell you that the odds of dying from a blueberry flavored condom are ridiculously low. In fact, no one’s ever died from a blueberry flavored condom. You’re the first. I’m the first.


For the record – I’m dead. They just took my body out in a black bag. The moron is sitting on the bed in his boxers, playing the sympathy card with the hot paramedic. A police officer bags and tags the blueberry condom wrapper.

This was going to make the papers just because of how odd it was. The headline – “Death by Blueberry Condom.”


For the record – I hate blueberries.